ONE LAST REMINDER

SATURDAY 13th FEBRUARY 2021 ~ BLOG POST

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.
Which can be found by following the link below..

Prompt ~ONE LAST REMINDER

ONE LAST REMINDER

by John Yeo

  Time is moving inexorably, passing almost unnoticeably fast, catching up with us all, unaware of the passing years. It seems just a short while ago I was a young man with a head full of dreams, breaking away from my roots and embarking on my life as a confident, independent young man. 

  Yet somehow, it seems like centuries ago, and I wonder where all the years went. I have certainly lived through them all. I have memories of how it was and of all my hopes and dreams for the future.

   It seems as if the winter of my life has stealthily arrived catching me by surprise. 

   How did it arrive so fast? Where did the years go and when did my young man’s dreams disappear? 

   I remember meeting older people through the years and thinking that those people were years older than me and that the later years of my life were so far away I couldn’t understand or fully imagine what it would be like.

  Looking back over the various chapters of my life, I realize that as I’ve matured my later years have been a kaleidoscope of contentment. It has been almost two decades since I met and married Margaret. During these 17 contented, love-filled years, we have both matured and gracefully aged together.

  Yet here it is! As I enter and accept another season of my life, I’m prepared for all the aches and pains and the loss of strength and ability to go and do things that I wish I had done but I never did!  At least I know that my winter has arrived; I’m not sure how long it will last. I accept that when life is over; it’s over.

   I  certainly have regrets. There are things I wish I’d done. and things I should have done and there are so many things I’m happy to have done. It all goes to living a lifetime. A final reminder if you’re not in your winter yet, let me remind you, that it will be here faster than you think. So, whatever you would like to accomplish in life. Do not wait for tomorrow it may never come.

One Last Reminder – Finish Your Book!

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

THE HIRED HAND

WEDNESDAY 18th NOVEMBER 2020 ~ FLASH FICTION

Today’s prompt: Write a piece of prose or poetry that uses the words hotel and porcelain skin.

THE HIRED HAND

by John Yeo

   Billy was a drifter, a wanderer, a man for hire. He was of average height and weight, however, he could always be identified by the six-inch long scar on his face running from one ear to the other ear. A hidden identifier was the shape of his head. His skull appeared to be uniquely shaped into a point and he had a long pointed chin. It was rarely, if ever, anyone saw Billy without his battered, mis-shaped, stetson hat on his head. He always had a grubby neckerchief pulled up over the scar and his elongated chin. 

 Jumping awkwardly off the goods train he had boarded when it slowed for some signals two miles outside the small town of Marlon, he took to the road, limping slightly.

 Marlon is a one street town with a general store and a rundown, little-used hotel, opposite the railway goods depot that doubled as the town passenger station.

 Billy entered the bar.

   ‘What’ll you have?’ asked the burly bartender, rubbing his huge wet hands on a grubby apron. He seemed to be deliberately aggressive as he eyed Billy suspiciously.

   Billy smiled and pulled his scarf down slightly. ‘Gimme a beer please! I’m looking for work. Do you know anyone who’s hiring?’

  At this precise moment a tall lady walked in, dressed from head to toe in funereal black. Her blonde hair was scarcely visible under the folds of a jet black hood. Billy couldn’t help admiring her facial skin which was perfectly made up with white makeup, giving the illusion of the pure porcelain skin of an oriental geisha girl.

    ‘Good day Mrs.Harper. Can I get you anything?’  asked the bartender respectfully.

  ‘No thanks Carter, I need to ask a favour. If you hear of anyone looking for work send them to the ranch. We are hiring for our harvest.’

‘Certainly Ma’am, I’ll do just that.’ replied the barman.

With that the lady left the bar.

Billy turned to him and frowned and screamed at the barman

‘Why didn’t you introduce me Carter?’

‘You wouldn’t thank me when you realised you would become a modern slave and sleep in the pigsty. Besides, you work for me now. How does fifty bucks an hour sound with a room thrown in.’

Billy soon became a regular member of the community  and was soon a partner in the business.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

TILLY THE TUNA

SUNDAY 28th JUNE 2020

This is a response to a Flash Fiction prompt from ‘Putting My Feet In the Dirt’, Writing Prompts hosted by ‘M’.

Which can be found by following the link below..

TILLY THE TUNA 

by John Yeo

We are off to visit the Sealife aquarium today. Both the children are excited and the atmosphere is charged.

 ‘Mum will there be real sharks swimming there? We’ve only ever seen them on the television.’ asked Billy.

‘Of course there will be sharks and lots of other kinds of fish. When you walk through the aquarium tunnels underwater, they’ll be swimming over your heads.’

 Milly, their eight year old couldn’t wait to meet a special fish.

‘I dreamed about Tilly, a tuna fish who had twins and they swam all over the place in the seas around the British isles.’

 ‘Don’t be silly Milly, tuna fish aren’t found here, they live in the oceans far away from here.’

 ‘My Tilly lives in my head Billy and I can place her wherever I want her to be.’

Billy said to Milly, 

‘If I had a dream about Tilly the tuna I wouldn’t eat the sandwiches Mum has made for lunch.’

 Milly cried, to think Tilly had died and Billy ate the tuna sandwiches.

© Written by John Yeo

SUMMER SOLSTICE

Image was a screenshot I took from the English Heritage live video.

SATURDAY 20th JUNE 2020 ~ BLOG POST

SUMMER SOLSTICE

by John Yeo

  Today is Midsummer day and the celebration of the Summer Solstice at Stonehenge, in Wiltshire. I’ve never had the opportunity to enjoy the pleasure of experiencing this amazing sight in reality. To my delight, English Heritage announced they would be setting up a live stream to enable people to view and virtually celebrate the Solstice at Stonehenge. We tuned in to YouTube and set the live video stream going. At first it seemed to be something of an anticlimax. The sky above the iconic stones was quite cloudy at 21:10; sunset was predicted to be a 21:27. There was no commentary but the camera occasionally panned around the standing stones. At one angle the setting solstice sun was quite bright and obviously the view from the other side was almost black, full of interesting evening shadows. I remarked to Margaret that it would probably feel quite uncomfortable if you were there alone.  

 The wealth of mysterious legends and fables based around Stonehenge are enough to fill the culpable mind full of awesome dread of Stonehenge. The Druids are a religious sect who once used Stonehenge as a temple, in fact I believe the modern day equivalent Druids still use the ancient stones. The famous sacrificial stone is a highlight of every visit, although there is no direct evidence it was ever used for sacrifice. 

  The sunset was incredibly dark and obscured by a cloudy sky. 

The sunrise in the morning will be at 04:52 and should certainly be more of a spectacle.

Sunday 21st June 2020

I woke up in time to view the live stream video of the sunrise over Stonehenge. The sun rose at 04:52 but unfortunately the sky was covered with thick clouds and the spectacular sunrise didn’t occur.

I snapped a screenshot from the live video. Sadly a gray dreary start.

HAPPY SOLSTICE!

Another screenshot of the unspectacular Summer Solstice sunrise.
I downloaded this image from the internet to remind me of things that might have been.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

A VISIT TO FELBRIGG HALL

SUNDAY 14th JUNE 2020 ~ BLOG POST

A VISIT TO FELBRIGG HALL

   We decided to book a parking slot and visit Felbrigg Hall, a National Trust property.. We did try to book a visit to Sheringham Park, also part of the National Trust but there was a high demand for parking slots and we were unlucky. The after-effects of the partial lifting of the lock-down restrictions due to the Coronavirus has created a high demand for places in these open air environments.

  We parked our car in a lovely spot overlooking acres of  fields full of cows, sheep and lambs munching the luscious green grass. 

  We set up our chairs and sat ready to enjoy our picnic lunch. We were a little early and we spent an hour seated, reading and taking in the sounds and sights of Nature. It was a pleasant day to spend doing very little, just relaxing, watching the grass grow as it were.  

  After lunch we took a stroll towards the main building where we came across a small herd of cows feeding on and under some trees. 

  As we passed a large black cow stepped up towards me with her head down.

    I stepped back and she took another step forward. I would have given her a friendly stroke or a pat on the head but I noticed her head was full of flies, she was that close. Margaret and I decided it was time to move on and we made our way to take some photos of Felbrigg Hall.

  We passed a pretty, well-cared for garden at the front of the building. There was a notice to inform visitors that although the walled garden was closed to the public, the Head Gardener was still working.

 I snapped a lovely photograph of a small tortoiseshell butterfly sipping nectar from a large lavender bed. The plants were literally covered in insects and butterflies.

We continued strolling around the front of the house.

 Finally we made our way to our car where we enjoyed a nice cup of hot tea from our flask before we made our way home.

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

FRESH PERSPECTIVES

MONDAY 1st JUNE 2020

FRESH PERSPECTIVES

   Today we ventured out from our self-imposed lockdown and visited Felbrigg Hall, a National Trust property. The Hall buildings and the lovely walled garden were closed, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, the beautiful grounds were open and Margaret prepared a picnic lunch and we made our way to the estate. We had to book and reserve a parking slot online, as the management had limited the number of parking spaces available, to prevent overcrowding.

   We found a lovely spot near the car park, overlooking some panoramic sweeping fields, full of sheep and lambs. There were also cattle in a distant neighbouring field. We set up our chairs and began to enjoy our picnic.

 Margaret spotted a hare dashing through the grass and a couple of pheasants in the distance. There was a continuous cacophony of rooks and crows cawing in a nearby stand of trees and a few wood pigeons visible. Quite a number of other visitors were strolling around, but everyone was keeping their distance from one another and religiously observing the social distancing guidelines.

   After our lunch, we followed a footpath and wandered through the field containing the sheep and took many photographs of the lambs on the way.

  Several people were wandering through this field with well behaved dogs, on leads but the sheep paid no attention.

   We walked to St. Margaret’s church where we stopped to take yet more photographs, the church building was closed. We made our way back to our car where we sat and enjoyed a last cup of tea and admired the view. 

  This was a lovely way to tentatively break the repetitive routine of the last few weeks and start to come out of social isolation.

I had to photograph the notice on the church gates. One cannot allow cattle or sheep to interrupt the church service.

© Witten by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

UNITED IN MERCY ~ DIVIDED IN FEAR

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TUESDAY 26th MAY 2020

UNITED IN MERCY ~ DIVIDED IN FEAR

by John Yeo

    My picture today reflects the turbulent sea. I recently became aware of the still prevalent problem of refugees and people- smuggling, that is still happening, in spite of the current pandemic that is raging around the four corners of the globe. I’m sure the last thing that springs to mind when one is frightened and desperately searching for a new life in a new land, is social distancing. These unfortunate travellers are crammed together in small dirty boats, or sealed into the backs of lorries using every inch of available space. Many of these people are caught and escorted back to where they came from. Sadly a high number die on the journey. The hidden,  unknown, almost unthinkable side of this ongoing situation, is the thought of the uncountable number of people who actually get through and melt into the population. The incalculable risk of the spread of Coronavirus by this means is something that can never be included in the Scientific data.

UNITED IN MERCY ~ DIVIDED IN FEAR 

by John Yeo

Many  official vessels from different navies

United in a common cause, 

To stem a very sad tide. 

A tidal wave of unfortunate people.

Fleeing their homelands 

Through fear and persecution.

~

The United forces of the comfortable world, 

Come together to save the lives

Of the refugees from oppression.

Crammed into unsafe vessels 

Preyed on for profit by cheats and thieves.

Led to Death by drowning in cruel rough seas. 

~

Divided by cause, culture and strife,

The refugees from hard pressed lands

Arrive to find salvation in a makeshift camp.

To ask for asylum and begin a new life

The saviours argue the point, 

Divided by the situation of overpopulation.

~

United in mercy and compassion.

They discuss going to war to stem the tide. 

Of hopeless humanity on the cruel rough seas.

Divided by the morality of taking life

To save the lives of the unfortunate few.

The disunited, divided impossible solution.

Can this worldwide situation really be true?   

Copyright © Written by John Yeo  ~ All rights reserved 

AN ELEPHANTINE DILEMMA.

Photograph © John and Margaret

AN ELEPHANTINE DILEMMA.

by John Yeo

  The two Asian elephants  in this photograph are from Thailand. For the purposes of this blog post I will call them Sava and Sabina, and just in the corner of the photograph little Shaheen can be seen, trying her hardest to get a taste of some of the tender bamboo shoots. It’s obvious though that Sava and Sabina have their trunks firmly in the trough and Shaheen as usual, will just get the leftovers.

 Sava and Sabina are part of a large herd of governing elephants that ruled over all the Thailand elephant population. Indeed Sava has an important job as chief adviser to the President Elephant.

At present all the herd are under strict quarantine rules due to the outbreak of a mysterious, mosquito-borne virus that seems to strike the elephants in the part of the anatomy where their tail protrudes. Sava and Sabina are in danger of total exclusion from the herd as they have broken the rules and wandered off to have fun with some relatives at a distant waterhole. Sava was spotted by some roving Indian Elephants who were on a visit with a circus from Delhi.  All hell broke out among the whole pachyderm population. Sava must be forced to pay for his impudent disregard of the regulations and be sent back into the furthest reaches of exile where he originated. However the President Elephant was a personal friend of Sava and lifted his trunk and trumpeted out, loudly claiming the rest of the world were all mistaken and Sava and Sabina made the journey simply to protect little Shaheen from the dreaded mosquito virus. This whole situation became not just a nationwide example of elephantine hypocrisy but a worldwide reflection of how not to handle a crisis. As one elephant in one area trumpeted his thoughts to another elephant, the Trumpet Major himself, the most powerful elephant in the world declined to trumpet a comment.

 ©  Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

THE CAREFREE DAYS

SATURDAY 23rd MAY 2020

 

THE CAREFREE DAYS 

by John Yeo

 

  These photographs bring back a lovely memory of a time in March 2017 when we attended a wonderful concert performance by Andre Rieu and his wonderful orchestra. I can’t help thinking that these days are over now for the foreseeable future.

 

 

    I remember we entered the crowded arena, where our bags were screened and we joined a throng of people attempting to locate their seats. I must admit there was order in the chaos and the security people were very helpful in locating our seats, we were soon seated comfortably awaiting the show to begin.

 

 

    A spectacular colourful musical extravaganza followed, featuring the orchestra, a female choir, three tenors and three diva sopranos. This was professionally overseen and put together by Andre Rieu, a showman and a character supreme. The female musicians in full length colourful ball gowns and the smartly dressed male members of the orchestra made for wonderful entertainment. They all seemed to be enjoying the experience enormously, which added a wonderful flavour to our evening’s entertainment. 

 

 

 Then the stunning scenery and dramatic effects added to the occasion and brought out the wonderful timeless music. The audience were invited to dance in the aisles and sing to the popular strains of well known songs.

 

 

 The show seemed to go on forever, with encore after encore. People were dancing in the aisles and still singing to the music, as the security people were trying to establish order and safety.

 

 

 I have to look back on these unrepeatable photographs and think how sad it is, we will probably never again feel the unabandoned exhilaration of being a part of thousands of people crammed together just enjoying a musical extravaganza such as this. 

 Life for everyone has changed out of all recognition since the arrival of the Covid19, Coronavirus pandemic. Some changes will be permanent. Although the current social distancing measures will certainly be eased in the future, I doubt if the memory of the ease of this sort of disease transmission will ever be forgotten and crowded arenas such as the one shown in these photographs will surely be a thing of the past.

 © Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved

 

BEANS

wp-1590075316468.jpgTHURSDAY 21st MAY 2020

BEANS

by John Yeo

  Today I intend to write about Beans. Yes, common Runner Beans. Part of most people’s childhood in the west is an introduction to the English fairy tale, ‘Jack and the Beanstalk.’

Where the indomitable Jack sold the family cow for a handful of beans that later grew into a giant beanstalk. Later after a few, ‘Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of an Englishman,’ yells, the giant dies and Jack and his Mum live happily ever after feasting off the proceeds of the hen that lays golden eggs.

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   We planted our Runner beans on the allotment yesterday. 

   I constructed the above wigwam from a bundle of 10 new 

6 foot bamboo canes for the beans to climb. Margaret has volunteered to climb this particular beanstalk to harvest the freshest tastiest beans at the top on the frame. If she does encounter a giant, I will be at the bottom with a pair of pruning shears.

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   It won’t be long before we are enjoying fresh new potatoes with mint and gently steamed fresh beans. Runner beans are a great source of fibre, which not only plays the lead role in making sure our digestive system is running at its best, but has also been shown to help prevent weight gain, some cancers, heart disease and diabetes.

  We also have some french bush bean seeds in rows alongside the mighty runners. These will certainly not be high enough to harbour any giants or hens laying golden eggs.

I looked up the phrase ‘Full of Beans’ and this is what I came up with.
  Originally, this phrase was known as “Full of Prunes” and then “prunes” was replaced with “beans”. The phrase originated in Europe in the 14th century when horses were fed with beans grown solely for fodder. After feeding the horse, the owners often noticed that the horses became quite energetic and lively. Hence the phrase originated to refer to this state of liveliness.’
Source: theidioms.com

  The beans in Jack and the Beanstalk are believed to be fava beans and they have a magical history all their own. With evidence of their incorporation into diets dating back to at least 6000 BC, fava beans are one of the oldest cultivated plants. Their hardiness and ability to endure cold climates contributed to their endurance as a crop. It also earned the beans magical status in Sicily, where they were considered more than merely food.

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/fava-the-magic-bean/

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   One of the things I notice occurring frequently on the social media areas of public entertainment is the propensity of people who tend to jump on the bandwagon. Since I’ve begun to cultivate my blog and publish on a more frequent basis, I’ve had several emails offering me work. I have to say I usually explore these offers but I have never been guilty of taking the bait, particularly when the person refers to the mysterious ‘us,’ i.e. ‘Would you like to write for us?’ When tackled about who these unidentified ‘us’ are, the reply is usually a woolly, ‘some very big people.’ … 

 I offer this advice to all prospective grow your own bean experts.

‘Beans and some other legumes, such as peas and lentils, have a reputation for causing gas. Beans contain high amounts of a complex sugar called raffinose, which the body has trouble breaking down. Beans are also rich in fiber, and a high intake of fiber can increase gassiness.’

© Written by John Yeo ~ All rights reserved.

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